Four Ways I’ve Found to Help Reduce Rent and Save Money
August 11, 2020 by Hunter Swanson
I live in a 500 sq. ft. studio outside San Francisco with a train line outside my window and the majority of every paycheck goes into paying for it. And I know I’m one of the fortunate ones. According to Business Insider, over 20 million renters could face eviction by the end of September. I have family that may be counted in that. Even without the economic recession and COVID-19, eviction is a terrifying prospect.
So if you find yourself in a similar position, here are four ways I’ve found can help reduce rent and save money.
1. Distance Can Be a Good Thing
During my hunt for a new place to live, one of the first things that caught my attention was the price differences for the same square footage in different neighborhoods. I would have an in-unit washer and dryer, a dog park for my plott hound, and garage parking, but one was an extra 20 minute commute. For forty minutes a day getting to and from work, I would keep thousands of dollars in my pocket at the end of the year. Not a bad trade off.
2. Spruce Up the Place… For a Price
There was a house I was looking at with a backyard that had more in common with the Sahara desert than an actual yard. During my tour, I purposed an offer: I could renovate the backyard and bring some life to the barren wasteland, which would increase the value of the property, the landlord could cut a portion of my rent as payment. He was definitely interested.
Electricians, plumbers, landscapers, carpenters… If you have the skillset, offer your services. Houses could use the love and some landlords would welcome the help.
3. Time is Money for You and the Landlord
I realized during all the apartment and house tours that I wasn’t the only one worried about the financial impact of COVID-19. The landlords were worried about future tenants leaving after only a few months. They don’t make money on empty places. I realized there’s a win/win solution to this: I offered to sign a longer contract for lower rent. I save money, they have a tenant for an extended period of time.
4. One is the Loneliest Number
One of the best ways I’ve found to cut rent drastically is to add roommates. I’ve lived with family, significant others, friends, and a few people I met from a website specifically made to find roommates. Very different experiences, but there’s one thing they all had in common: I saved a ton of money. If saving money and being able to afford a place to live means not living by myself, then so be it.
These are four things that have worked for me. In the end, it’s really all about being proactive. Be open to new possibilities, communicate openly with your landlords or apartment complexes, and be honest with yourself about what you are willing and not willing to do to save money.